Sisters of Mary of The Presentation
The Sisters of Mary of the Presentation are women who came together to serve people who suffered persecution after the French Revolution. They are an International Religious Community founded in 1828 in Broons, France by two sisters: Louise and Laurence LeMarchand. These women were invited by their pastor, Fr. Joachim Fleury, to teach the children who did not have any religious instruction the Christian message. They also visited the sick, the disabled, and the elderly.
The home of the two girls was near the parish Church and their father was a friend of Fr. Fleury. When Fr. Fleury returned to France after the Revolution, he saw that many of the children in his parish did not know about God. The Christian life had been weakened. Mass was celebrated underground because the soldiers had destroyed the churches and various cults had sprung up. Father Fleury listened to his people tell of how religious practices had been abandoned, of how they were suffering both materially and spiritually. His two concerns were to rebuild the church and to teach the little ones. He asked the two LeMarchand girls to help teach the children. The children came to their home, but soon it was too small for both the family and the children. So another house was found nearby.
After teaching, Louise would go about town visiting and caring for the sick, as hospitals were nonexistent in those days. This was the beginning of Home Health. Besides teaching and caring for the sick, they were part of the Retreat movement and sponsored retreats for youth and adults. Many participated in these experiences, which affirmed and deepened their faith.
At the beginning of the 20th Century, there was another religious persecution and the Sisters were forced out of France. They went to Belgium, Canada, Guernsey, and the United States and became an International Community. In 1903, the Sisters came to the United States and settled in Wild Rice, ND. This was our first school. In the same year we went to Spring Valley, Illinois where we opened our first hospital. In 1914, the Sisters were forced to flee our Mother house because – as far as the French Government was concerned – we were dissolved as a Congregation. The Sisters fled to the island of Guernsey, which is off the shore of England. When World War II broke out, our Superior General was on a boat. She came back and volunteered twenty nurses to the French Government. She told them she knew of a piece of property where a hospital could be set up. This was our Motherhouse, which became MILITARY HOSPITAL #13. The decree of dissolution was revoked on December 8, 1923.
As an International Community, our Motherhouse is in northern France and is where the majority of our Sisters are located. Since the 1950’s, we have added five missions in the Cameroons, Africa.
In the United States, we are fifty-four Sisters. Our Provincial House is in Valley City, ND. Thirty-one of our Sisters reside at the Provincial House. At Maryvale, our Provincial Home, the Leadership for our Province resides and have its offices. It is also our Hospitality Center, Spirituality Center, and Retirement Home for the Sisters. In addition, we own and have Sisters at our four hospitals, three of which are in North Dakota: Bottineau, Harvey, and Rolla. Our other hospital is in Spring Valley, Illinois. The Sisters in health care are mainly involved in the Pastoral Care Ministry. We own five nursing homes in North Dakota, Jamestown, Valley City, Enderlin, and two in Fargo. We also have a few Sisters involved in the educational ministry.